Japanese Emperor Hirohito's WWII memoir was expected to fetch as much as $150,000 at auction in New York Wednesday. It instead sold for $275,000, but the sale price is potentially less interesting than the buyer: Dr. Katsuya Takasu, a man the BBC describes as an accused Holocaust denier. It points to a 2015 tweet in which Takasu reportedly called Auschwitz a "fabrication." He assigned the same descriptor to the Nanjing massacre, which occurred at the hands of Japanese troops in China beginning in late 1937. He tried to clarify his stance to the Japan Times on Thursday, saying that while he is against Nazism and does believe the Nazis killed people, he does not think "toxic gas" was employed at Auschwitz.
In an interview with Reuters
, he also emphasized that he thought the death tolls in both instances were inflated, "a stance common among Japanese ultra-nationalists," per Reuters. He says, "What I wanted to say was that it is said that 6 million or 7 million were killed [in the Holocaust], but was that not several tens of thousands?" The Times
notes Takasu is a widely known cosmetic surgeon in Japan, in part because he appears in TV commercials that run almost daily. As for his motivation in buying the 173-page memoir, reportedly written at the behest of Gen. Douglas MacArthur
, he says, "I really wanted to see the original because the published text could have been edited. On top [of] that, I slightly felt something like indignation because it was sold in an overseas auction." More on what the memoir says here